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Gemini Campaign: Escort Duty

By Over_Surge

Word Count:6,590 
Date: 2004
Series: Mini
Rating: T
Category: AU
Pairing/Focus: Original Characters
Warnings:
Summary:
Spoilers/Disclaimers:


…Minus 43 years – Fall of the Colonies.

1.

For Seven years, man has been at war with it own creation. The Cylons, an artificial intelligent race, which seek to destroy their formal masters.

The Twelve Colonies of Kobol have been unified to fight its greatest threat, the children of humanity.

For a number of months since the Virgo system was lost to the Cylons. The colonial fleet had constantly been on the defensive. The Battle of Virgo was the bloodiest battle since the beginning of the war when the Colony of Cancer was taken in the first days of the fighting. The lost of life on Cancer had been in the hundreds of millions. The Cylons had shown no mercy with the civilian population captured on Cancer during the surprised attack and invasion. Many had been executed in horrible fashions and then broadcasted over communication links. It had been rumored that the Cylons had conducted experiments on human subjects in order to find a soul. It had been one thing all humans knew for a fact: a Cylon has no soul.

Now the same terror was being broadcast over open communication links of captured warriors and civilians. There were fewer survivors taken at Virgo, an agriculture and mining colony with a lower population than Cancer. Also many had been evacuated to other colonies, to escape the battle, but some of the unlucky ones left behind had rather die in nuclear self-destruction, taking out as many centurions as they could when the cities had been over run. The Fleet had lost seven Battlestars and their groups, along with the important Fleet shipyard of Virgo.

Since the defeat at Virgo, the morale of the humans had been very low but resolve to defeat the Cylons was never stronger. The conquest of the Virgo system was a strategic victory for the Cylons. They had taken one of the Colonies' major resources and established a base of operations close to near by colonies, such as Gemon and Picon. Gemini system was most affected by the capture of Virgo; it has been nearly cut off from most of the other colonial systems. The Gemini system is mostly surrounded by hostile space, such as the Aria Nebula and the unstable Haiku star system, now only a narrow corridor linked the colony with the rest of human race.

No Faster than Light jumps could be safely plotted and executed into Gemini system, since anti-jump nets would have been deployed by the Cylons in their occupied Virgo space and with incursions into the Gemini corridor. Only short intersystem jumps were possible within Gemini space but jump points are controlled by the military. Jump points are military secrets, which changed randomly within the protection network of anti-jump buoys. The protection network prevented Cylon Basestar Fleets from jumping into Colonial controlled space. In the early days of the war, FTL technology was new and had never been used in human combat maneuvers. The Cylons were the first to have effectively used FTL maneuvers to destroy human industrial infrastructure and harass colonies for years until the protection network was completed. As a matter of fact, it was the first time humans had learn from machines. Two Battlestar groups were lost in FTL jumps, because of a Cylon network around Cancer. The Colonies developed their own anti-jump network from capture Cylon technology. Of course, the general public does not know this fact. It would have been bad for morale if the public knew the Cylons had the capacity to advance beyond human knowledge.

Genmini Campaign: Escort Duty (2)

2.

A pair of Mark II Vipers speed along the length of a container ship. As the vipers reach the stern of the ship their boosters pulse a flash of energy as they turn and increase speed to intercept a medium shuttle. The Vipers and the shuttle head to a Colonial Fast Carrier in the distance.

An officer sitting behind his desk, reading patrol reports is interrupted by the ring of a phone and picks its up. "Captain Adama," Russell Lee Adama answers.

"Sir, Vice Admiral Drake, Third Task Force commander is arriving unannounced and Commander Montana request you meet them at the Commander's Mess for lunch in ten minutes," said the duty officer on the phone.

"Very good, I will meet him in ten. Thanks Captain," Russell Adama hangs up. Thinking how unusual it is for such a flag officer to arrive unannounced. Russell Adama picks up the phone again and dials.

"Second of the Eighty-eight, Lt. Travis," answers Adama's executive officer.

"Tap, this is Rain Man, the Task Force commander is making a unofficial visit."

"Yes I know, the Duty Officer just sent word, and I am passing it down the line to the Squadrons"

"Good. Quickly, what is our current situation with Second Air Group ops?"

"Sir, all patrols have reported no unusual activity along our sector of the Gemini Corridor, except for the Flag's shuttle and his viper escort. The convoy is moving along at a good pace and we should be passing it over to the First Air Group and the Battlestar Solaria on time. Hang on a second," Tap pauses. "Our visitors are requesting to top off their fuel cells, and it looks like they are only going to stay long enough to have some lunch and a nature call. Also, they would like four of our vipers to escort their flight to the ARCTIGO control sector. I guess the admiral has a meeting in the interior."

"Alright, Tap. Top them off and have the next patrol escort the flight. Have the chief clean their windshield and check their oil. I am going to have lunch with the admiral and our commander in the commander's mess."

"Yes, sir, only the best for our guest."

"That's all," said Russell Adama as he hangs up the phone and then buttons up his top collar as he walks to the door.

Large steel doors slide apart to open the landing bay where the Admiral's medium shuttle sits. The side hatch opens on the shuttle and a rolling stair way is brought to the hatch. The Commander of Task Force Three wearing a plain duty uniform follows an armed Colonial Marine officer.

"Welcome aboard the TYNOVA, Admiral Drake," said the saluting Commander Chuck Montana.

Returning the salute, Admiral Drake says" I am glad to be onboard Commander. This is an informal visit, so lets get straight to the task at hand. What's for lunch?"

"Sir, since this is an informal visit, I hope what the chef comes up with will be good enough. The chef makes a great space man's sandwich and stew. Simple and good," said Chuck Montana.

"That will be fine," smiled the Admiral while shaking the Commander's hand.

"My senior officers will be joining us for lunch, sir."

"That's good, it will give me a chance to get to know your senior team," said the Vice Admiral. "After Lunch I will need to speak to you privately, Chuck."

Entering the Mess, Captain Adama sees an orderly position the Colonial Colors and other flags into positions around the room. Other orderlies were setting up the table and filling glasses with water. The Mess also served as a conference room.

A Picture of the CVF-90 TYNOVA with a formation of old mark I Vipers over Capirca was the only other item to take prominence in the room. The TYNOVA Carrier is larger than a hanger pod of a grand size Battlestar, such as the GALACTICA. If it was not for the engines on the lower aft of the landing bay and its size, it would almost be a complete match of a Battlestar pod. Unlike a Battlestar, a carrier is lightly armed with defensive weapons and depends on its Vipers and Destroyers for protection. The Carrier usually served as the command ship for an air group. The TYNOVA is home to four Viper Squadrons of the 2nd Air Group, 88th Air Wing or 2-88. Other Viper squadrons of the 2nd Air Group are stationed on the BC-20 ROTA. Three air groups make up the 88th Air Wing headquarter on the Flagship BSG-88 SOLARIA.

Walking together Admiral Drake and Commander Montana walk in to the Mess. The Executive officer calls out, "Room, Attention!"

"As you were," said Drake.

Commander Montana introduces his senior officers to the Admiral. When the Commander get to the CAG, "Sir, Captain Russell Adama, 2nd Air Group Commander, from Caprica."

"Are you Admiral Ben Adama's son?" asked Drake.

"Yes, sir. He was my father," answers Adama.

"Sorry to hear about your father's passing. He was a great Fleet Commander; I had the privilege to serve under him in the Vermillion Uprising before the tin heads united."

"Thank you, sir," said Adama with pride.

"Before we begin our lunch, I know you must be wondering why I am here. I noticed in our introductions that none of you are from Virgo, but I know you must have crew under your commands who are Virgos. These last few months have, I am sure, been hard on them. To have their home destroyed and family and friends lost, and hear and see from Cylon transmissions the tortures and executions. I want you to tell them for me that we will defeat those soulless bastards. I am on my way to an important meeting to prepare the way for change. Preparing the way to final victory. No longer will we have to defend our worlds from these metallic vermin, we will go on the attack and destroy these frakking tin heads," said the admiral with a look of determination.

"So say we all, Sir. We look forward to putting out all those red lights," said Captain Lume, the ship's weapons officer.

"Ok then, let enjoy lunch," said the Admiral. "This space man's stew smells good."

On the bridge of the carrier, a petty officer looks over a senor console and turns a dial to switch the image. "Sir, we are beginning to move into debris field eight-teen-o-four, I have high lighted the passage way on to the main screen console."

"Helms, slow speed to one third and follow the passage," said the bridge officer, Lt. Nordic.

"Aye, slowing to one third," said Helms

"Sensors, keep track of flotsam disturb by convoy traffic," advised Lt. Nordic. Then picking up a phone, he calls the commander's mess to inform the executive officer of the situation. Next Lt. Nordic announces over the P. A.," Now hear this, secure for debris impacts, I say again, secure for debris impacts"

From the outside of the TYNOVA, the exterior landing bay doors start closing to protect the bay from heavy stray wreckage. Debris field 1804 is a known navigational hazard in this sector of the Gemini Corridor. This unnatural space hazard was created long ago, before the human colonies unified. It was during one of the wars between the colonies that a large battle was waged here. This field was established as a Colonial Monument and left undisturbed for nearly a century. Some of the veterans of that conflict were laid to rest and intern in the field. Since under normal circumstance the field would have been bypassed, the fall of Virgo has force traffic into the area.

"It has been a pleasure to share lunch with you and give my complements to the chef. Please, stay seated and finish your lunch, me and Commander Montana have some things discuss," and with that Drake and Montana stand and leave the table. They walk down a hall leading to the commander's office/quarters.

Captain Lume speaks, "CTF3 is ok. The whole time we were with Task Force Eleven, we never saw a Flag officer on the front."

"Rain Man, I think your old man must have left a lasting impression on CTF3. He must have learn by example," said Lt. Rosen, the medical officer.

"I hope so," said Adama.

Closing the door behind him, Commander Montana motions if the Admiral would like some coffee.

"Yes, make it black," said Drake. "You have a impressive team of officers, Chuck."

"So may I ask, why you made a stop on my ship, Prest? It can't be to talk about old college days."

"You are right, but those parties we had at the old apartment. They were good times," said Drake as he accepted the cup of coffee from Montana.

"When this war is over, I am going to throw a party to remember, except I think our wives would veto some activities," said Montana with a cheerful smirk.

"Getting to the reason I wanted to speak to you. I have to ask you for a favor," said Drake in a more serious tone. "I am going to need you for a shore duty command. I know you are on top of the list to take command of one of battlewagons, and you deserve it. You are one hell of a commander, but you have diplomatic experience, which is perfect for this job. In the next few days or at least in a week, Gemon and Picon will be under complete military control. The President and the Council of Twelve will be convinced to give up their power over these two colonies. I and other flag officers have agreed that you would become the Military Governor of Gemon."

"Thanks, for your confidence in me, but I am sure Gemon already has a council governor," said Montana.

"True," said Drake. "The civilian government of Gemon and Picon are intact, but we can not afford to lose another colony to the Cylons. Leadership by committee has not prevented the Cylons from decimating another colony. Too many have lost their lives because these fools have been using this war for personal and political gains. This behavior must change or we will lose this war, and man will become an extinct race."

"How is the President and the Council going to agree to the hand over of power?"

"Lets just say high command have strongly expressed their concerns with the President. It has been let known that the Cylons are preparing forces at Virgo to launch a new offensive against Picon or Gemon next. We cannot evacuate the population of these colonies; most of the survivors from Virgo have taken refuge on these two colonies." Drake pauses to take a drink of coffee.

"I see your point about evacuation. The flight of the refugees from Virgo consumed most of the Fleet's resources to defend the retreating civilians, and we then could not hold planet," said Montana.

"Do you realize how thin our defensive bubble became surrounding the rest of the colonies? If the Cylons were not so narrow minded they could have taken advantage and other colonies would have been lost and billions would have been killed. When the tin heads do make a major move against Gemon or Picon, the Fleet will make a stand. We cannot baby sit the civilians or allow the politicians to set the priorities of battle," Drake pauses.

"The lost of those Battlestar groups and the naval shipyards at Virgo have weakened our forces enough. Our Task Force may not be enough to repel an invasion of Gemon. I will need someone on the ground that can control the civilians and organized a resistance when the time comes. So you are my man," said Drake looking Montana at the eyes.

"Prest, I am only a ship commander. I do not have the experience to govern so many."

"You do have experience from your State department days as an assistant ambassador, and you have proven your self as a commander. You will not be alone; you will have help and a staff. I know you have recently been promoted to the rank of Commander, but you might as will find some Rear High Admiral insignia. It is not official yet; so don't get too big headed. Orders will be drawn up by the time I return from Caprica. I will be calling on you, and I will not accept an answer of no," said Drake with emphasis. "I want you to prepare yourself. Now lets not discuss this anymore today.

Changing the subject. I did not know that Ben Adama's son was under my command. Tell me what kind of leader is Captain Adama," said Drake.

Knowing when an Admiral gives a command it is wise not to disobey. Montana had more questions about a military take over of civilian colony government. It's best that he saves his questions for later and answers the Admiral's question. "Well another of Admiral Adama's sons is under your command too."

"Really. It is a big Fleet, can't read all the personnel files."

"Captain Adama's younger bother is a new Ensign assigned to the GALACTICA as a Viper pilot. As to the Captain's leadership style, he takes after his father. He has the highest respect and loyalty of those in his air group and of his peers," said Montana.

"I am going to keep my eye on the Captain and his brother. Their father is becoming a folk legend among the warriors of the Fleet. If you say the Captain takes after his father, then he must be a modest and humble fellow," said Drake. "Is the Captain a family man? I notice his wedding ring, how long has he been married?"

The expression on Montana face changed, "Captain Adama is a widower. His wife and children were killed in an attack on Caprica, almost four years ago."

"I see," said Drake. "Many have been effected personally by this war. I hate to make this such a short visit, but I better get going."

"Duty calls, I understand. Thanks, I will do my best to exceed your expectations. Captain Adama has a flight of Vipers ready to escort your shuttle to the next sector. It was good to see you my friend," and with that they shake hands.

"I trust you not to discuss that matter, until it is made official. Good bye, Chuck."

3.

--30 hours later.

A Cruiser and a Carrier, float side by side in space with the Aria Nebula in the background.

The BC-20 ROTA, a pre-unification era warship, which served in the Libran Naval Star Fleet, coast along with the TYNOVA. It looks like a flatted blimp with bulky plate sections and a raised command island. It had recently been refitted with upgraded weaponry and electronics. On board the cruiser the CAG of 2-88 is briefing the squadron leaders on the upcoming mission. He likes to alternate group briefings between the two main viper carriers.

“…This transit is going to go fast. It doesn’t make it a milk run because all the transports and support ships are military. I remind you that the SOLARIA section had recently engaged close to sixty Raiders. There are reports of a few enemy recon ships that had made some probes into our own sector. It is definitely a sign that the Cylons have become more interested in the corridor. We knew it was coming, so I have a feeling we are going to see some action soon,” said Captain Adama. “Any questions?”

None of the squadron leaders spoke up.

“Good. Next, mission warning order, our next escort transit is going to be a mercy convoy with a bunch of old and slower passenger ships full of Virgo refugees and orphans. We will have a 32-hour rest before then to resupply and catch up on maintenance. I will need some of you to brief the civilian captains and crews and some to assist the medical teams with health inspections. It will also be a public relations call, to comfort the civilians and to let them know they will be in good hands. I will have a mission outline ready and sent to you before we meet at the next rally point. That’s all, dismiss,” said Captain Adama.

Squadron leaders stand and begin to shuffle out the room except one.

“Sir, may I speak with you privately?” said Lt. Karen “Vibe” Morgan.

“Sure, Vibe, go ahead?”

“Sir, there have been some rumors about the civilian leadership negotiating a peace with the Cylons. I just wanted to let you know, because I feel some of the lower ranks believe it is true. I have also heard this same rumor from others outside our task force. I hope it’s not true,” said Morgan

“I can assure I have heard no truth to that rumor, what’s so ever. Peace is not possible with those soulless machines,” said Adama. “I am glad you brought this to my attention, I want you issue a memo, stating that these rumors have no truth to them and…”Adama is interrupted by a buzzer and a flashing red light behind Lt. Morgan.

“ACTION STATIONS, ACTION STATIONS” announced the overhead speaker and next the alert signal rings out.

“Rain man, I believe the Lords of Kobol, have blessed you with future sight,” said Lt. Morgan in a friendly mocking tone.

“No Vibe, I am curse with experience,” replied Adama, as he quickly walks out the room to go to the Combat Information Center.

Meanwhile, crewmembers are running down corridors to get to their action stations. Viper pilots shout out, “make a hole!” They have priority going down the halls, hatches, and ladders so they can get to their fighters and get ready to launch.

At the instant of Action Stations, pilots on Ready-Launch status sprint to their new Mark II Vipers. They seem to leap into their cockpits, defying the laws of artificial gravity. They strap themselves in and snap secure their helmet, and warm up the engines in seconds. At the same time the Viper is moving into the fire tube, as the canopy locks down. The tube gate closes behind the Viper and the vacuum of space fills the tube. In a moment of time the Viper is checked off and the pilot gives the thumbs up to the launch master. Then in a blur the Viper is rocketed down the tube and into space.

“What’s the situations?” said Adama looking at his deputy commander (DCAG) assign to the ROTA.

“Sir, one of our destroyers, the LARGEN, has been hit by enemy fire. Its believed to be a stealth torpedo hit. All Group Ready-Launch Vipers have been launch and are deployed in protection screen around our cruiser and the carrier. The Two Alpha and Two Echo Squadrons are in tubes, ready for orders,” said Lt. Bret “Rogue” Dodger.

“Rogue, instruct Two Alpha to go to the LARGEN, and seek out the attacker. Two Echo and all active patrols are to go to section defensive posture three,” ordered Adama.

Even though it is the Cruiser’s commander who would order her vipers into action. During the first moments of Action Stations, it is the responsibility of the ship’s DCAG or CAG to issue initial orders to air assets. Adama relays messages of his actions to ROTA and TYNOVA commanders.

“CAG, an incoming report from LARGEN has a possible location of the suspected missile boat,” said Lt. Dodger.

At that moment, rapid thumping noises from the secondary guns are heard as they fire on incoming torpedoes. Then the collision alert sounds.

Adama looking at Dodger, “Get those Vipers launch, NOW!”

“Aye, Sir,” then keying his headphone mic. “All tubes; launch Vipers, launch Vipers”

Then seconds later the ROTA is shaken when a torpedo explodes very close to the ship by its defensive batteries. The defensive guns continue to fire, as they track another torpedo that had pass over the bow of the cruiser. The guns seize fire when a Viper gives chase and destroys the torpedo.

A wave of Vipers from Two Alpha over flies the burning destroyer in pursuit of the bandit missile boat. The disabled LARGEN had sent the probable location of the silent running boat to Alpha leader.

“Vipers approaching; count twenty,” said a cylon centurion to his boat’s captain in a monotone electronic voice.

“Target nearest ship; launch remaining torpedoes in active mode, “ said the cylon captain.

"By your command; torpedoes away." said the centurion as it press buttons on its weapons console.

“Withdraw; return to base.” said the cylon captain

In a patch of blackness in space, multiple lights burst as active torpedoes streak toward the not so close ROTA.

“I have multiple inbounds,” said Lt. Brent “Sledge” Folder. “Toto, take your team and intercept those torpedoes. The rest of you, follow me, we have a boat of red eyes to put out.”

Squadron Eight-Eight-Two-Alpha separates into two teams of ten. Toto’s team goes to full burners to intercept six active torpedoes heading in the direction of the ROTA. Sledge’s team speeds it way to the source of the flashes.

“Ok, spread out and slow it down, these black boats are tricky to spot,” said Lt. Folder to his team.

“Sledge/ Brewer, my sensor console is blinking out,” said Ensign Eddie ”Brewer” Bass, the newest pilot to the squadron.

“Brewer, that means the black boat is close and it’s do it thing,” said Lt. Folder.

Instantly one of the Vipers opens fire on a slick black, wedge looking missile boat.

“I got it!” calls out the Viper pilot.

His Viper’s keeps firing, as its nose stays pointed on target. The momentum forces the Viper to stand nose down over the boat and then flips inverted, locked on target. Pieces of boat begin to break away as rail rounds find their mark.

“Evasive maneuvers,” said the Cylon captain. Its programming doesn’t give it the concept of “It’s over”. The cylon missile boat has no defensive weapons to repel an attack; it only has its stealth.

Sledge’s Vipers lock on to the frantic flight of the missile boat. It is finally overcome by the onslaught of fire and explodes. Toto’s team successfully destroyed the active torpedoes.

“Good job, Two-Alpha,” said Adama over the wireless.

Colonel Samantha Reilly, commander of the ROTA. “Tactical, be on the look out for other possible, passive torpedoes. Adama I suggest that you have your Vipers conduct a through search of the local area, before recalling them back.”

“Yes, Sir. I make certain of that. I am going to head back to the TYNOVA, I think the deputy CAG can handle it from here,” said Adama.

“Very well, Captain,” said Reilly, next turning to her executive officer. “XO, keep defensive batteries at stations and stand down rest of the crew.”

Adama turns to the DCAG at his station in the CIC. “Rogue, I congratulate you on your Ready-Launch vipers reactions time to Action Stations. Issue them an extra ice cream ration.” Ice Cream was a substitute to buying rounds of Beer rations since beer is prohibited during active combat operations; ice cream was the next best thing.

A pair of Vipers on defensive patrol detects a small suspicious object cruising at high rate of speed. “TYNOVA Control/Juggler, moving to investi…scratch that, inbound torpedoes, moving to intercept.”

Juggler leads her wingman to intercept the passive cruising torpedo. Then just short of shooting range one of the torpedoes’ boosters ignites. It is locked on to its target, the TYNOVA.

“It’s going active!” the excited Juggler says.

Juggler adjusts coarse of her Viper and goes full throttle to pursue the torpedo while her wingman goes in to take out the other torpedo before it went active. Juggler only has a very short window to destroy her torpedo before it hits the side of the TYNOVA. If she misses that window, the TYNOVA will only have about two seconds to try to destroy that torpedo with it’s defensive batteries. Tracking a boosted torpedo so close to the ship is a difficult challenge for ship’s guns and hitting it is given a small chance of success. So the pressure is on Juggler to destroy it.

“Come on you piece of…”Juggler curses her Viper to move faster. The highlighted yellow target marker on her heads up display is bouncing all over the place, as it tries to track the torpedo. The marker turns green to indicate the target is now in range, but not locked. Juggler goes ahead and triggers her rail guns. The rounds go blazing pass and short of the path of the torpedo. The TYNOVA is growing larger in front of Juggler’s view. She is growling to herself, to concentrate all her focus on the target, and pressing hard down on the trigger as if that would make the rounds firer faster.

“Break! Break! Break!” Juggler hears in her helmet-phone.

The TYNOVA lights up the darkness with multiple tracer rounds.

“Frak!” said Juggler as she disengages and pull up hard to avoid the TYNOVA’s field of fire.

The collision alert sounds on board the TYNOVA. Inside crewmembers brace themselves and most pray to the Lords. The torpedo races on home into the port side of the landing bay area.

4.

A lone crewmember has braced him self against a wall, feeling cold and slightly trembling as he prays “…Lords, have mercy and protect us from this e…” A spike of fear overcomes the crewmember as a loud screech sounds, when the torpedo enters into his compartment, and his breath is taken away in a brilliant light. He becomes a random victim of war.

The collision alert continues to blare inside the command center, where officers and enlisted brace themselves for the expected jolt. The blaring noise from the klaxon mutes the thump of the torpedo impact.

The operations officer looks at his time watch, the torpedo should have hit already. He relaxes and grabs a phone, and presses a speed dial. “Damage Control/ OPs, Report.”

“Ops/ Damage Control, torpedo breached our starboard landing structure, in compartment sections fourteen alpha to charlie. Minor decompression, small explosion reported, sir.”

The operations officer turns to the executive and reports what damage control had said. “Shut that alarm off,” said the XO.” Commander, the torpedo did impact the ship,” he points at the schematics and continues. ”It looks like it was dud, there was only a minor explosion upon impact.”

“Have Lt. Tsunami’s E.O.D. team rush over there and make sure it is not on a delay timer, and have sections 13, 14, and 15 evacuated of unessential personal.” The XO acknowledges, and the commander turns to the direction of the operations officer, “Ops close down the landing bay until E.O.D. can safety that torpedo.”

“Yes, sir”

The XO picks up a phone to address the ship,” All here this, this is the XO. All none essential personnel in sections 13, 14 and 15 are to relocate to the lower hanger bays and await further orders. All other sections stand by at stations. That is all.” The XO looks down on the receiver and switches off the address function and dials another number. “Damage Control/ XO. Get E.O.D. to the impact site immediately and have them secure and safety that torpedo.” XO hangs up the phone after an acknowledgement.

Ensign Terry “Juggler” Oslo after recovering from the tight pull away, glances back at the TYNOVA were the torpedo had hit the side of the ship. There was no large impact scar or fires as she had expected to see, but only the contrail of the torpedo. Juggler begins to laugh, “son of daggit, it’s a dud.” She was relieved that many lives were spared; the torpedo could have cause sever damage to the ship. Still it would have been better if she had destroyed the torpedo.

On his way to the TYNOVA, Captain Adama decides to detour to the LARGEN to check on the Vipers taking watch over the rescue and recovery operation. The fires have been put out on the damaged destroyer. Unable to continue on under its own power the LARGEN is going to be assisted by a tender support ship. When the tow cables are connected to the destroyer, the tender will tow it back to an anchorage in Gemon Prime’s orbit for repairs. Twenty-two were killed, thirty-six wounded, and one missing. If one of the torpedoes had hit thirty meters forward, and pierce the power plant, the whole ship would have instantly been lost with one hundred and fifty-one officers and crew.

“Rain Man, we have the area other control,” said Sledge. “The Captain of LARGEN is very upset that an earlier Viper patrol did not detect the missile boat. I did not want to tell him that his destroyer was more capable of picking up the ship on his sensors, than we could in our vipers. Gee, Lancer did not find the boat until he was almost on top of it.”

“Don’t worry about it Sledge. The captain had to let out on someone, why not blame the wing. We viper pilots are the hero’s in the movies, but when we are not there. We get the blame, that is just how it works,” said Rain Man.

“Aye, sir. We will stay with the LARGEN until the HAMPTON can get here.” The HAMPTON is a Fast Frigate with more firepower than a destroyer. One of handful of frigates assigned to the SOLARIA Battle group.

If the LARGEN had exploded with all hands, it would have been the first lost ship attached to the new Battle group. The Battle group was officially organized six months prior, with the BSG-88 SOLARIA as the flagship. The SOLARIA is the newest Phoenix-class Great Battlestar in service. Three cruisers, two carries and numerous frigates and destroyers are attached to the Battle group. The group was not put into action soon enough to participate in the Virgo Campaign or as some call it the “Council’s Retreat”. The SOLARIA battle group is the most modern and updated equip group in the whole Colonial Fleet. The Battle Group’s air wing is the first to be fully deployed with the new Viper Mark II-B’s.

In a small room on board the SOLARIA, a handful of fresh looking aviator officers wait to be called in to meet with the commander of 88th Air Wing. “Ensign P. Tigh,” said a Lieutenant with a clipboard. The young Ensign was please to here his name called because he hated to wait.

“Yes, sir,” said Ensign Paul Tigh as he raises his hand.

“Okay, Ensign Tigh, you’re next the Colonel will see you now,” the Lieutenant points the way.

Tigh walks to the Wing Commander’s office door and knocks. He wanted to make the best impression he could manage with his new Wing Commander.

From behind the door, “Enter.”

Ensign Tigh confidently enters the office and walks to the front of the commander’s deck, stands at attention, and smartly salutes, “ Ensign Paul Tigh, reporting, sir.”

The Colonel returns the salute, “At ease and take a seat.” The commander is not impressed, it was a little over the top, it was not necessary to salute indoors. Then again all the young officers wanted to make a good impression.

Tigh takes a seat in the chair in front of the desk, and waits as the Colonel glances at a file. The office is full of photos of military aircraft, old and modern. On one wall, it was covered with plaques of the many squadrons emblems assigned to the 88th Air Wing. Twenty-four plaques were for the Viper squadrons of the Wing.

“Ensign Tigh, it says in here that you transferred from our sister ship the PEGASUS, Why?” said Colonel Arthur “Slayer” Saxon as he lays down the file on his desk. He waits for Tigh’s answer.

“Sir, I’m a viper pilot and I wanted to see action as soon as possible. The PEGASUS was not due for space trials for weeks and its Wing had not received its vipers yet. Also parading for the brass was not appealing to me,” said Tigh.

“Action sooner,” Saxon pauses and raises his voice some. “I see you already had your share of action already. By the Lords, you’ve received your combat wings before you completed flight school, and awarded the bronze leaf for valor”, said Saxon as he though of Tigh being an over achiever. “At least half of the 88th has not see combat yet. Now, here you are, a replacement pilot begging for action”

Tigh sits with a stoic expression on his face. Not wanting to reply to the Colonel’s comment.

“Mister Tigh, I like your enthusiasm, but I have a question for you. Do you feel guilty about being the only one to survive unharmed in that battle above Unicorn three,” asked Saxon.

Tigh had half expected that question in the back of his mind, “Yes, sir.” Tigh looks directly at the Colonel. “I owe them…I have do my best and no less. I was spared by the Lords for a reason and that must be to kill Cylons,” said Tigh.

“I appreciate that honest answer. If you had said no, I would have know that there was something seriously wrong with you. Its tough to see friends die, but life goes on Paul,” said Saxon as paternally as he could. “I have faith in you that you will serve the 88th well and to kill many of those bastard Cylons."

"I will do my best, sir," said Tigh.

"It is usually traditional for your first squadron leader to give you a call sign, after a few flights with the squadron. In your case, as the Wing Commander, I can break tradition. Your call sign is ‘Fire Fox’, for already receiving your baptism in ‘fire’, and surviving like a ‘fox’.” Saxon passes Tigh a call sign certificate he had already signed.

“Thank you, sir,” smiles Tigh. He was pleased with that call sign, because it was better than is call sign he had back at the academy, ‘brew master’.

“Alright, I am assigning you to the 2-88th. You will report to the CAG, Captain Adama, on the TYNOVA. Here are your signed orders,” Saxon stands up, and reaches across to shake Tigh’s hand as he stands. “We don’t wish our aviators ‘Good Luck’ in our Wing, because you are expected to make your own luck. We just say ‘congratulations’; now go do your job.”

Tigh shakes the Colonel’s hand, then salutes and walks out the office.

On board the TYNOVA, a man in a thick armor suit carefully removes the warhead from the dud torpedo. He places it in a cart and turns to a camera mounted on the cart with a relieved smile and an okay sign.

“SOLARIA command request an update on our ship status, sir,” said the communications petty officer.

“Send this message, ‘we remain operational, torpedo secured and safe. We will be able to take the hand over of the battle train, the immediate sector is swept, Montana, Commander CVF-90.’ Did you get that?” said Montana.

“Yes, sir, sending the message,” said the communication specialist as he begins to key in the message at his station. The most effective way to communicate was by short space relay. Line of sight communications buoys have been organized to relay scrambled communication burst dispatches. It may not be the quickest way, but is very effective and a secure way.

Captain Adama had return to the TYNOVA after the landing bay had been re-open. He is in his office, reviewing reports of today’s actions when a runner hands him a message from 88th Wing. It was the personnel list of new pilots and maintenance crew to arrive from the SOLARIA when they rendezvous in Gemini space.